The World Happiness Report provides data and research used around the world to help shape and inform policy.
Among its findings: giving to others is good for you. It makes you feel happy.1-8
Since 1992, the TABOR Foundation protects the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. We educate citizens on why it matters to have a vote on increased taxes and how a formula for predictable growth creates a sound economy.
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We give advice and direction to citizens working at their local level to stop TABOR violations. We assist as plaintiffs and “friends of the courts in lawsuits to stop such violations.
The biggest trick of politicians is calling a new tax a “fee” – whether it’s for plastic grocery bags, living in a special district, running a hospital, driving over a bridge, or funding a mandatory family leave program with an insurance “fee.” We’ve responded to inquiries not just in Colorado, but in states like South Dakota, Kansas, Arizona, Alaska and Florida.
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Nicolais: An attack on TABOR could leave Colorado Democrats feeling the squeeze
A court composed of mostly Hickenlooper appointees turns the governor down cold, setting up a possible legislative showdown
PUBLISHED ONDEC 9, 2018 5:55AM MST
Special to The Colorado Sun
Before walking out the door from the governor’s office, John Hickenlooper took one last shot at a Democratic boogeyman. Last week, the Colorado Supreme Court denied Hickenlooper’s parting attempt to undercut TABOR, the conservative taxpayer’s bill of rights enshrined in the Colorado constitution.
Democrats, have long derided TABOR for the constraints it places on government. Not only does TABOR require a vote of the people to approve tax increases, but several of its provisions work in conjunction with other laws to create a “ratcheting effect” on government spending.
If revenues drop during an economic downturn, they cannot return to prior levels as the economy rebounds. Instead, growth is artificially tied to the down year plus a pittance for inflation.
The ratchet works like boa constrictor wrapped around a person. With every breath out, the snake squeezes a little tighter and the next breathe in is a little shallower.
Eventually, no breath can be drawn, and the person dies. I’m sure it delights TABOR’s progenitor, the eccentric Douglas Bruce, to imagine the government being asphyxiated.
Democrats have a little different view; they see a snake crushing the life from Colorado citizens. Gasping for funds no longer available, state and local services wither and waste away. Continue reading
Called the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, it took effect Dec. 31, 1992, and was designed to serve as another check against the growth of government. It requires that any increase in overall revenue from taxes not exceed the rates of inflation and population growth.
The TABOR Foundation, which was instrumental in advancing the amendment, maintains that it has been a successful measure.
Others maintain it interferes with advancing critical public spending initiatives. Sam Mamet, the executive director of the Colorado Municipal League, opposes TABOR. Mamet argued on the 25th anniversary of TABOR that “iIt is one of the most seriously damaging things the voters of the state have done to themselves in the last 25 years, in my humble opinion.”
Since its inception 26 years ago, many attempts have been made to amend, circumvent and litigate TABOR; the foundation counts at least 80 cases between 1993 and 2017.
Pfiffner said a perfect example of this is the 2015 lawsuit it filed, TABOR Foundation, et al. v. Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing, et al. regarding Colorado’s “hospital provider fee,” which it argues is an unconstitutional tax.
Bed tax law suit gets new life
DENVER — Ongoing litigation against the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing, among others, over a 2009 program that raised taxes via a “hospital provider fee,” has new energy after Cause of Action Institute announced earlier this month it would take on the representation of the plaintiffs in the case.
Cause of Action is a Washington D.C.-based 501(c)(3) organization that according to its website advocates for “economic freedom and individual opportunity advanced by honest, accountable, and limited government.”
Plaintiffs, who were originally represented by Mountain States Legal Foundation, had 60 days to find new counsel after Mountain States withdrew for reasons not related to the case or the plaintiffs.
Lee Steven and James Valvo are the lead attorneys. The Colorado-licensed attorney is Michael Francisco, who while working in the Colorado Attorney General’s office helped to write the defense of Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) in Kerr vs. Hickenlooper, which claimed TABOR was a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of a republican form of government. That argument lost.
This case was initially filed in 2015. It asserts the state’s Hospital Provider Fee is actually a tax enacted in violation of the TABOR. Continue reading
The TABOR Foundation is suing the State of Colorado over the bed tax termed a “Hospital Provider” charge, which was imposed without voter approval in strict violation of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Our lawsuit had to be substantially amended when Senate Bill 17- 267 further flaunted the constitution by increasing the tax limit by $400+ million, defining the hospital welfare program as an off-the-books government business, issuing $2 billion in debt and much else – all without any regard to the requirements in TABOR.
In late March, we learned that our attorneys at Mountain States Legal Foundation had to withdraw. From our outside observation point, some internal reorganization appears to have been the reason. From everything that I have seen and heard, neither the TABOR Foundation nor the other three Plaintiffs contributed to the difficult situation.
In early April, Judge Buchanan gave us 60 days to find replacement counsel.
This email is a happy announcement that the TABOR Foundation met that deadline to recruit new attorneys and the hand-off is just about complete. Yesterday, the TABOR Foundation appeared at a new Hearing as ordered by Judge Buchanan. With us were the outgoing attorneys and participating by telephone were our new attorneys. One of the other Plaintiffs, Scott Rankin, also attended. The Court approved the substitution. We have pulled together another very strong team so the outlook is positive. Our new legal representation is by Cause of Action Institute, with Lee Steven and James Valvo stepping into the lead roles. Our Colorado-licensed attorney is Michael Francisco, who while working in the Colorado Attorney General’s office helped to write the defense of TABOR in Kerr vs. Hickenlooper.
Now that the legal activity may move forward, look for more communications about developments no later than the fall…..
Penn R. Pfiffner